How Visual Cues Help You (Really) Achieve Your Homeschool Goals

No doubt, habits play an essential role in homeschooling, and there are good and lousy homeschool habits. However, consistency has never been my strong suit.

Some homeschool moms seem to have endless energy, organization, and efficient time management. For my part, sometimes it's lunchtime before I realize we haven't read aloud and no one has done math.

So I’m going to try something new to keep moving forward and build good habits.

Homeschool Habits Start with Mom

It can be a troubling thought, but all moms know we set the tone for the house. Our habits become our family's habits.

That burden can be quite heavy when we're laying on the couch with morning sickness. So how do we create rhythm and stability in our homeschool when life keeps interfering?

Make Homeschool Habits Simple

My coffee consumption is a habit I take very seriously. So how do I make sure I'm not caught homeschooling without the proper caffenation? I get it ready the night before. Why do I do this? Because it's important to me.

So how can I use this same principle to build habits in my homeschooling?

I'm a visual person. My coffee pot is right on my kitchen counter where I'll see it and remember to prepare the next morning's brew.

In the same way, I do better when the History Read-Aloud is on my side table, visually prompting me to read the next chapter. I add documentaries to my watchlist so when I'm looking for something to fill a rainy afternoon, I'm ready. Your massive BookShark binder, holding your Instructor's Guide may be enough of a visual cue for you to stay on track each day.

This need for simplicity is why the homeschool morning basket is such a popular idea for kickstarting the school day. It works for my own personal reading, too! The basket of books I’m currently reading from sits in the living room where it is always visible. It’s a constant reminder to pick something up and read the next chapter.

Another simple visual cue in our homeschool is the sizeable year-long calendar that graces our kitchen wall. It won’t land me in a decorating magazine, but everyone can look at the calendar and see when we have an orthodontist appointment or the first day of co-op.

Homeschooling with Visual Cues

We all know the saying “Out of sight, out of mind,” so how can we use this to our advantage in our homeschool?

Visual cues are a powerful way to build habits that help our homeschooling and parenting, and they aren't only for the children. Most visuals focus on keeping the children on schedule, but I think building better habits in myself will create a more peaceful homeschool atmosphere than concentrating on the perceived deficiencies of my children.

My habits will create a rhythm for my children, so how can I build my routine through visual cues?

Visual cues work in three ways.

  • They give us a small reminder of the habit we are trying to establish.
  • As we do that behavior, we build the routine.
  • Rewards will then incentivize us to continue our habit.

How Visual Cues Help You (Really) Achieve Your Homeschool GoalsSo how could we make this work as a homeschooling mom?

The first step is to decide what kind of visual reminder will work for you. Would a notification on your phone be an adequate prompt? I don’t think that would work for me because I would see and then continue with my day. The reminder would be forgotten, and I wouldn’t achieve my goal. I do better with a constant visual such as the calendar on the wall or a paper chain. What other cues would work?

  • The basket of books on your side table.
  • The science subscription boxes arriving in the mail.
  • A jar of coins for math money (don’t tell the kids).

The next step is to do the behavior you want to become part of your routine.

  • Read from the stack of books.
  • When the subscription boxes arrive, drop everything to have fun with science.
  • See the coin jar and do the math lesson.

Finally, reward yourself for completing the task.

  • When you’ve read from your stack of books, send then kids out and have a cup of tea.
  • Once you’ve completed the science experiments, enjoy a movie together.
  • When you finish a math lesson, add more change to the jar. When it fills, treat the family to ice cream. (Don’t let the kids in on any of this, I’m not a fan of bribing anyone but myself.)

Visual Cues that Work

The best visual cue will be the one that works for you. Maybe it’s as simple as moving paper clips for every book you read, making a paper countdown chain, or putting marbles in a jar when you finish an art project.

We each have homeschool goals and need to find a simple reminder system that will keep us moving in a positive direction. It’s so easy to get discouraged on the homeschool journey when we think of all the things we didn’t complete.

Give visual cues a try so you can remember all the good you did accomplish in your homeschool day.


About the Author

Bethany Ishee

Bethany is the mom of six always homeschooled children who one day realized she'd lost herself in the process, probably under a pile of laundry. Her eclectic style of relaxed homeschooling draws upon classical to unschooling methods and everything in between.

While homeschooling her children, teaching at a Project Based Co-op, and writing about learning outside of school, she still tries to find time to read a book, drink coffee, and pay the bills. Read more from Bethany on her site BethanyIshee.com: Real inspiration for the authentic mom.

   

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